• 15 Dec 2014 /  Icky Ways to Go

    This month, our Icky Way to Go comes courtesy of almost-good movie Chain Letter, which is ironically about email. Anyhoo, in this particularly gruesome scene, the obligatory hot jock guy gets violently done in by the killer, ‘Chain Man’ (Jesus wept…) who uses Chains on those who fail to forward the Chain letter email. Chain, chain, chain.

    After being hoisted up by chains in some sub-S&M game, hot jock’s tendons are slashed so he can’t run away, and yet more chains are used to sort of grind down his ocular and jaw regions. Ouch. Hot jock no more.




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  • 10 Dec 2014 /  Reviews

    THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN

    2014/86m

    Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rajon / Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa / Cast: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Gary Cole, Anthony Anderson, Joshua Leonard, Travis Tope, Ed Lauter, Edward Herrmann, Denis O’Hare, Spencer Treat Clark, Wes Chatham, Danielle Harris.

    Body Count: 14

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    Who remembers Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows? Anyone? No? OK, so it was critically slain and sank without a trace, but that was one sequel that picked a particularly smart way of being a sequel without actually being one. Sorta.

    Instead of sending more teens into the woods to be messed with, Book of Shadows was set in a world where the phenomenon of the movie, The Blair Witch Project, was observed. It was once-removed and so was able to comment on the 1999 film as a film rather than events true to the world of the sequel.

    This is also the tack of this not-remake of 1976 creepy-sleeper of the same name, which is a true story concerning one undetected masked killer who did away with five people in the small Texas/Arkansas border town of (imaginatively named) Texarkana in 1946. Sixty-seven years after the murders, the thirty-seven-year-old slasher flick is shown in the town on Halloween. At said event is shy Jami, whose jock-date Corey agrees to go someplace else when it becomes clear she’s not enjoying it.

    Unfortunately for them, their little private party in a lovers lane is crashed by a hooded killer who orders them out of the car at gunpoint and knifes poor Corey to death, allowing Jami to escape on the condition she tells “them” it’s all for Mary. The town goes into shock at the copycat murder and it’s not long before a second couple are attacked, this time both are slain, and the paranoia of the 40s makes an unwelcome return to Texarkana.

    Meanwhile, Jami, intrigued by the killer’s message to her, begins conducting research into the murders of the 40s and who the killer might’ve been. Police forces from both sides of the town attempt to cooperate, shadowing Jami’s every movement. She finds an unlikely ally in old classmate Nick, with whom she pays a visit to the son of the director of the 1976 film (inhale!), who believes he knows who the original killer was…

    Interspersed with clips from the old film, Sundown 2014 is more of a slasher flick, albeit set over a period of months rather than days, but as the killer has gone to school on the movie, the infamous trombone scene is recreated in a gruesome murder of two bi-curious boys (producer Ryan Murphy’s presence in force), and there’s a bleakly realised mass-shooting at a gas station.

    Considering the identity of the real killer has never been resolved, it’s strange that here everything is quite neatly wrapped up. In this sense, and the fact that there was so much story to wade through, The Town That Dreaded Sundown would have made a really good miniseries. There’s a lot to cram into 86 minutes: Jami’s black past, her grandmother’s (the always adorable Veronica Cartwright) hinky demeanor – is she keeping secrets??? – a budding romance between the teen leads, police forces from neighbouring states, and the duo mysteries of who the killers were and are.

    Thus, it’s never boring, not for a second. And that cast!! Cartwright! Cole! Anderson! O’Hare! Leonard! Herrmann! Again, they would be even more excellent if only there was more time.

    The production is handsome, far more sophisticated on a visual level than most other contemporary slasher films, and really brings the Americana of the locale to the forefront, with particular attention to accents and attitudes. Aguirre-Sacasa has made a beautiful looking horror movie, a rare beast if ever there was, and, typically, one that bypassed a theatrical release completely.

    Blurbs-of-interest: Danielle Harris has a cameo role as ‘Townsperson #2′ but be damned if I could spot her!; Gary Cole was also in Cry_Wolf; Anthony Anderson was in Urban Legends: Final Cut and Scream 4; Edward Herrmann was in Death Valley; Josh Leonard – of The Blair Witch Project - was in Hatchet and Madhouse.



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  • 05 Dec 2014 /  Reviews

    WRONG TURN VI: LAST RESORT

    2014/18/91m

    Director: Valeri Milev / Writer: Frank H. Woodward / Cast: Anthony Ilott, Aqueela Zoll, Chris Jarvis, Sadie Katz, Billy Ashworth, Rollo Skinner, Roxanne Pallett, Joe Gaminara, Harry Belcher, Radoslav Parvanov, Danko Yordanov, Asen Asenov.

    Body Count: 11

    Laughter Lines: “Don’t you fret, lover, you’ll be in me one way or another.”

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    THREE STARS!? I know, right, but first, this:

    Disclaimer: I was out sick the day I watched Wrong Turn VI, it’s plausible I was delirious.

    The Wrong Turn franchise has become a de facto crown-snatcher of Friday the 13th: a sequel every one or two years, semi-naked teenagers, deformed backwoods killers stalking them… And, like Jason’s canon, the sixth movie here sees an improvement over the last few.

    This could be due to long-time helmer Declan O’Brien stepping aside, but gone are the plywood sets and (most of) the juvenile humor that polluted Wrong Turn 5, replaced with richer production values and reducing the screentime allotted to the trio of cannibals. They’ve even changed to Roman numerals (on the film, if not the box), so perhaps they’re trying to claw back a little class?

    Well, no. This is still very much a Wrong Turn flick. Again, shot in Bulgaria, and still set before the events of the 2003 original. At this rate prequels will outnumber sequels. Seven New Yorkers drive out to Virginia after failed Wall Street broker Danny (Ilott) discovers he has inherited a spa hotel, Hobb Springs, presently run by tactile brother and sister Jackson and Sally.

    Danny soon becomes embroiled in their chatter about ancestry, roots, family blah blah blah, while his friends grimace at the rundown surroundings and are eventually killed off by Three Finger, Saw Tooth, and One Eye, all of whom look more like trick or treaters in dollar store Halloween masks. Elsewhere, the usual excesses of female only nudity (a fat guy’s ass does NOT count), grisly demises, and a predictable finale, are present and correct.

    Moving with slightly less frenetic energy to get to the bloodletting and some gusto in nominal heroine Zoll, Last Resort at least appears to be trying something new, but how long can it go on?

    • When is this film set?
    • Where did Doug Bradley go?
    • What the fuck is all the cloaky Druid shit about???

    The series might well write itself into a corner before too long, look how they had to pull the plug on Halloween as it descended down that Thorn/Druid corridor. Still, it’s better acted and more engaging than all of the installments since Dead End, which at least holds some hope out that the inevitable Wrong Turn VII might not completely suck either…

    Seems since it’s release the film has gotten into a bit of bother by featuring a genuine missing persons picture of somebody who later turned up dead in Ireland!? Expect a re-cut and re-release down the line.

    Blurb-of-interest: Parvanov was in Wrong Turn 4 as one of the other inbreds.

     



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  • 30 Nov 2014 /  Reviews

    YOU CAN’T KILL STEPHEN KING

    2012/15/79m

    “It was a mistake to visit his lake.”

    Directors: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil, Jorge Valdes-Iga / Writers: Mann, Khalil, & Bob Madia / Cast: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil, Crystal Arnette, Kayle Blogna, Kate Costello, Justin Brown, Jason Martin, Polly Humphreys, John Mancini.

    Body Count: 5

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    Admittedly, I was filled with a case of the “ugh’s” when I encountered this film… The title alone made me want to dry swallow balled-up barbed wire, but after watching the trailer on YouTube, it didn’t look like it was going to be 80 minutes of Samsung phone-shot lesbianism and ketchup squirts… It looks like it might have taken the wise decision to go down the comedy route.

    Indeed, You Can’t Kill Stephen King opens with this rather lovely vista:

    …which helps. I like lakes with lots of lush, green trees around the perimeter.

    After the obligatory murder of a hot girl in the woods, we meet our primary cast of five ‘young people’ off to stay in the lakeside cabin they’ve inherited in the same town that Stephen King reportedly resides in, somewhere in Maine.

    So, the film kinda starts with on a Scary Movie plain with an establishing shot for each of the quintet:

    Other than Lamont, we have PTSD-suffering ex-soldier Monroe, his serious sister Hilary, his ex-girlfriend Lori, his King-obsessed virginal buddy Ronnie, and requisite dim-witted hot girl, Nicole.

    They stop at a diner where they are advised to go party elsewhere by the waitress, then rent a boat where they are advised to go wakeboarding elsewhere by the boat-rental guy, then they have fun on the lake where they are reprimanded for going too fast by a waterborne cop. Seems as though everyone wants it to be peace and quiet.

    Before long, a shadowy figure begins offing the group one by one and Ronnie begins to suspect whomever is doing it is aping scenes from Stephen King stories and only comes after them when they’re being loud.

    The dwindling group set about trapping the killer, whom by this point Ronnie suspects is Stephen King, and things kind’ve lumber towards a revelation not too far removed from the climax of Hot Fuzz.

    Production unities are higher than expected from both the DVD cover and title, but the film begins to shed its comedy tag towards the end and plays out like any other straight-to-video dead teenager film of late and the jokes all but disappear.

    I’m weary of any film where there are A). multiple directors and B). said directors award themselves the lead roles. This results in a sort of limelight hogging that sees all the girls summarily wasted, without a final girl figure to speak of. Final boys hardly ever work as it is.

    Some funny parts and plenty of tropes, most of which work better in the two minute trailer (“fog… and more fog!”), a couple of good lines, but – for the first half at least – a sense of fun and frolic. That title though…

    And remember, even Stephen King couldn’t make a good Stephen King movie.

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  • 25 Nov 2014 /  Read

    So, like, remember The Dark of the Forest, that slasherific comic book from dead-teen enthusiasts Freaktown Comics?

    Well, they’re back for a second bout of stacked up expired teens in Slashermania:

    The plot is thus:

    1983. Troubled teens from New York and Los Angeles are taken to a summer camp facility to be trained as counsellors and mix safely with other people their own age.  Little do they know they are being watched by an audience hungry for sex & violence. They are the designated victims for a bizarre contest of murder and mayhem –

    WELCOME TO SLASHERMANIA!

    Masked maniacs from across the USA, Canada, Italy & the UK compete in various categories: Best Male Solo Death! Best Female Solo Death! Coitus Interruptus! Sin Punishment!Most Creative Kill! Biggest Multiple Death! The coveted Slasher of the Year award!

     “And the slashie goes to…”

    Slashermania is written by Russell Hillman, with pencils by Ron Joseph, inks by Jake Isenberg, colours by Harry Saxon and letters by Sergio Calvet

    The trailer is thus:

    The Kickstarter page is here.

    Summer camp. Sexy teens. An army of masked and/or costumed psychos… Whatcha waiting for!?

     

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